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\ 






THE BLACK RIDERS AND 
OTHER LINES BY STE- 
PHEN CRANE 









BOSTON COPELAND AND DAY MDCCCXCVI 
LONDON WILLIAM HEINEMANN 



"*1 " - * . ^ 



THIRD EDITION 









\ 



■HNTKRED ACCORDING TO THE ACT OF CONGRBSS 
IN THE YEAR MDCCCXCV BY COPBLAND AND DAY 
IN THE OFFICE OF THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRBSS 
AT WASHINGTON 



TO HAMLIN GARLAND 



271019 



%■ 
\ 



■» ■» ^ 



BLACK RIDERS CAME FROM THE SEA. 

THERE WAS CLANG AND CLANG OF SPEAR AND 

SHIELD, 
AND CLASH AND CLASH OF HOOF AND HEEL, 
WILD SHOUTS AND THE WAVE OF HAIR 
IN THE RUSH UPON THE WIND! 
THUS THE RIDE OF SIN. 



^^ 



II 

I 

THREE LITTLE BIRDS IN A ROW 
SAT MUSING. 

A MAN PASSED NEAR THAT PLACE. 
THEN DID THE LITTLE BIRDS NUDGE EACH 
OTHER. 

THEY SAID, " HE THINKS HE CAN SING." 

THEY THREW BACK THEIR HEADS TO LAUGH. 

WITH QUAINT COUNTENANCES 

THEY REGARDED HIM. 

THEY WERE VERY CURIOUS, 

THOSE THREE LITTLE BIRDS IN A ROW. 



d 



Ill 

IN THE DESERT 

I SAW A CREATURE, NAKED, BESTIAL, 

WHO, SQUATTING UPON THE GROUND, 

HELD HIS HEART IN HIS HANDS, 

AND ATE OF IT. 

I SAID, " IS IT GOOD, FRIEND ? '* 

"IT IS BITTER BITTER," HE ANSWERED; 

"BUT I LIKE IT 

" BECAUSE IT IS BITTER, 

" AND BECAUSE IT IS MY HEART." 



tfk 



1 

^1 



IV 

YES, I HAVE A THOUSAND TONGUES, 
AND NINE AND NINETY-NINE LIE. 
THOUGH I STRIVE TO USE THE ONE, 
IT WILL MAKE NO MELODY AT MY WILL, 
BUT IS DEAD IN MY MOUTH. 



ONCE THERE CAME A MAN 

WHO SAID^ 

" RANGE ME ALL MEN OF THE WORLD IN 

ROWS." 
AND INSTANTLY 
THERE WAS TERRIFIC CLAMOUR AMONG THE 

PEOPLE 
AGAINST BEING RANGED IN ROWS. 
THERE WAS A LOUD QUARREL, WORLD-WIDE. 
IT ENDURED FOR AGES ; 
AND BLOOD WAS SHED 

BY THOSE WHO WOULD NOT STAND IN ROWS, 
AND BY THOSE WHO PINED TO STAND IN ROWS. 
EVENTUALLY, THE MAN WENT TO DEATH, 

WEEPING. 
AND THOSE WHO STAID IN BLOODY SCUFFLE 
KNEW NOT THE GREAT SIMPLICITY. 



^ 



^ 



VI 

GOD FASHIONED THE SHIP OF THE WORLD CARE- 
FULLY. 

WITH THE INFINITE SKILL OF AN ALL-MASTER 

MADE HE THE HULL AND THE SAILS, 

HELD HE THE RUDDER 

READY FOR ADJUSTMENT. 

ERECT STOOD HE, SCANNING HIS WORK 
PROUDLY. 

THEN AT FATEFUL TIME A WRONG CALLED, 

AND GOD TURNED, HEEDING. 

LO, THE SHIP, AT THIS OPPORTUNITY, SLIPPED 
SLYLY, 

MAKING CUNNING NOISELESS TRAVEL DOWN THE 
WAYS. 

SO THAT, FOREVER RUDDERLESS, IT WENT UPON 
THE SEAS 

GOING RIDICULOUS VOYAGES, 

MAKING QUAINT PROGRESS, 



TURNING AS WITH SERIOUS PURPOSE 
BEFORE STUPID WINDS. 
AND THERE WERE MANY IN THE SKY 
WHO LAUGHED AT THIS THING. 



^* 



VII 

MYSTIC SHADOW, BENDING NEAR ME, 
WHO ART THOU ? 
WHENCE COME YE? 

AND TELL ME IS IT FAIR 

OR IS THE TRUTH BITTER AS EATEN FIRE? 

TELL ME ! 

FEAR NOT THAT I SHOULD QUAVER, 

FOR I DARE I DARE. 

THEN, TELL ME ! 



S 



^^ 



VIll 

I LOOKED HERE ; 

I LOOKED there; 

NOWHERE COULD 1 SEE MY LOVE. 

AND THIS TIME 

SHE WAS IN MY HEART. 

TRULY, THEN, I HAVE NO COMPLAINT, 

FOR THOUGH SHE BE FAIR AND FAIRER, 

SHE IS NONE SO FAIR AS SHE 

IN MY HEART. 



IX 

I STOOD UPON A HIGH PLACE, 

AND SAW, BELOW, MANY DEVILS 

RUNNING, LEAPING, 

AND CAROUSING IN SIN. 

ONE LOOKED UP, GRINNING, 

AND SAID, " COMRADE ! BROTHER ! " 



10 

•ft 



I 

I 



SHOULD THE WIDE WORLD ROLL AWAY, 

LEAVING BLACK TERROR, 

LIMITLESS NIGHT, 

NOA GOD, NOR MAN, NOR PLACE TO STAND 

WOULD BE TO ME ESSENTIAL, 

IF THOU AND THY WHITE ARMS WERE THERE, 

AND THE FALL TO DOOM A LONG WAY. 



II 



XI 

IN A LONELY PLACE, 

I ENCOUNTERED A SAGE 

WHO SAT, ALL STILL, 

REGARDING A NEWSPAPER. 

HE ACCOSTED ME : 

" SIR, WHAT IS THIS ? " 

THEN I SAW THAT I WAS GREATER, 

AYE, GREATER THAN THIS SAGE. 

I ANSWERED HIM AT ONCE, 

" OLD, OLD MAN, IT IS THE WISDOM OF THE 

AGE." 
THE SAGE LOOKED UPON ME WITH ADMIRATION. 



12 



i 



''^ .< ii. ». „ i. i,m.^Mcme»^amma 



V 



XII 

«* AND THE SINS OF THE FATHERS SHALL 
BE VISITED UPON THE HEADS OF THE CHIL- 
DREN, EVEN UNTO THE THIRD AND FOURTH 
GENERATION OF THEM THAT HATE ME." 

WELL, THEN, I HATE THEE, UNRIGHTEOUS 

PICTURE ; 
WICKED IMAGE, I HATE THEE; 
SO, STRIKE WITH THY VENGEANCE 
THE HEADS OF THOSE LITTLE MEN 
WHO COME BLINDLY. 
IT WILL BE A BRAVE THING. 



n 



i 



XIII 

IF THERE IS A WITNESS TO MY LITTLE LIFE, 
TO MY TINY THROES AND STRUGGLES, 
HE SEES A FOOL ; 

AND IT IS NOT FINE FOR GODS TO MENACE 
FOOLS. 



^ 
% 



14 



I 



XIV 

THERE WAS CRIMSON CLASH OF WAR. 
LANDS TURNED BLACK AND BARE ; 

WOMEN wept; 

BABES RAN, WONDERING. 

THERE CAME ONE WHO UNDERSTOOD NOT THESE 

THINGS. 
HE SAID, " WHY IS THIS ? " 
WHEREUPON A MILLION STROVE TO ANSWER 

HIM. 
THERE WAS SUCH INTRICATE CLAMOUR OF 

TONGUES, 
THAT STILL THE REASON WAS NOT. 



15 



XV 
" TELL BRAVE DEEDS OF WAR." 

THEN THEY RECOUNTED TALES, 

" THERE WERE STERN STANDS 

" AND BITTER RUNS FOR GLORY." 

AH, 1 THINK THERE WERE BRAVER DEEDS. 



I6 



i 
I 






XVI 

CHARITY, THOU ART A LIE, 

A TOY OF WOMEN, 

A PLEASURE OF CERTAIN MEN. 

IN THE PRESENCE OF JUSTICE, 

LO, THE WALLS OF THE TEMPLE 

ARE VISIBLE 

THROUGH THY FORM OF SUDDEN SHADOWS. 



17 



XVII ^ 



THERE WERE MANY WHO WENT IN HUDDLED 

PROCESSION, 
THEY KNEW NOT WHITHER ; 
BUT, AT ANY RATE, SUCCESS OR CALAMITY 
WOULD ATTEND ALL IN EQUALITY. 

THERE WAS ONE WHO SOUGHT A NEW ROAD. 
HE WENT INTO DIREFUL THICKETS, 
AND ULTIMATELY HE DIED THUS, ALONE ; 
BUT THEY SAID HE HAD COURAGE. 



iS 



J 



XVIII 

IN HEAVEN, 

SOME LITTLE BLADES OF GRASS 

STOOD BEFORE GOD. 

" WHAT DID YOU DO ? " 

THEN ALL SAVE ONE OF THE LITTLE BLADES 

BEGAN EAGERLY TO RELATE 

THE MERITS OF THEIR LIVES. 

THIS ONE STAYED A SMALL WAY BEHIND, 

ASHAMED. 

PRESENTLY, GOD SAID, 

" AND WHAT DID YOU DO ? " 

THE LITTLE BLADE ANSWERED, " OH, MY tORD, 

" MEMORY IS BITTER TO ME, ^ 

" FOR, IF I DID GOOD DEEDS, 

" I KNOW NOT OF THEM.*' 

THEN GOD, IN ALL HIS SPLENDOR, 

AROSE FROM HIS THRONE. 

" OH, BEST LITTLE BLADE OF GRASS ! " HE SAID. 

^9 



XIX 

A GOD IN WRATH 

WAS BEATING A MAN; 

HE CUFFED HIM LOUDLY 

WITH THUNDEROUS BLOWS 

THAT RANG AND ROLLED OVER THE EARTH. 

ALL PEOPLE CAME RUNNING. 

THE MAN SCREAMED AND STRUGGLED, 

AND BIT MADLY AT THE FEET OF THE GOD. 

THE PEOPLE CRIED, 

'* AH, WHAT A WICKED MAN ! " 

AND 

** AH, WHAT A REDOUBTABLE GOD ! " 






20 



- »«", 



XX 

A LEARNED MAN CAME TO ME ONCE. 

HE SAID, " I KNOW THE WAY, COME." 

AND I WAS OVERJOYED AT THIS. 

TOGETHER WE HASTENED. 

SOON, TOO SOON, WERE WE 

WHERE MY EYES WERE USELESS, 

AND I KNEW NOT THE WAYS OF MY FEET. 

I CLUNG TO THE HAND OF MY FRIEND ; 

BUT AT LAST HE CRIED, " I AM LOST." 



21 



XXI 

THERE WAS, BEFORE ME, 

MILE UPON MILE 

OF SNOW, ICE, BURNING SAND. 

AND YET I COULD LOOK BEYOND ALL THIS, 

TO A PLACE OF INFINITE BEAUTY ; 

AND I COULD SEE THE LOVELINESS OF HER 

WHO WALKED IN THE SHADE OF THE TREES. 

WHEN I GAZED, 

ALL WAS LOST 

BUT THIS PLACE OF BEAUTY AND HER. 

WHEN I GAZED, 

AND IN MY GAZING, DESIRED, 

THEN CAME AGAIN y^t 

MILE UPON MILE, 

OF SNOW, ICE, BURNING SAND. 



i 



22 



i 



XXII 

ONCE 1 SAW MOUNTAINS ANGRY, 
AND RANGED IN BATTLE-FRONT. 
AGAINST THEM STOOD A LITTLE MAN ; 
AYE, HE WAS NO BIGGER THAN MY FINGER. 
I LAUGHED, AND SPOKE TO ONE NEAR ME, 
" WILL HE PREVAIL ? " 
" SURELY," REPLIED THIS OTHER ; 
*' HIS GRANDFATHERS BEAT THEM MANY TIMES." 
THEN DID I SEE MUCH VIRTUE IN GRAND- 
FATHERS, 

AT LEAST, FOR THE LITTLE MAN 
WHO STOOD AGAINST THE MOUNTAINS. 



23 



^r« 



XXIII 

PLACES AMONG THE STARS, 

SOFT GARDENS NEAR THE SUN, 

KEEP YOUR DISTANT BEAUTY ; 

SHED NO BEAMS UPON MY WEAK HEART. 

SINCE SHE IS HERE 

IN A PLACE OF BLACKNESS, 

NOT YOUR GOLDEN DAYS 

NOR YOUR SILVER NIGHTS 

CAN CALL ME TO YOU. 

SINCE SHE IS HERE 

IN A PLACE OF BLACKNESS, 

HERE I STAY AND WAIT. 



24 



XXIV 

I SAW A MAN PURSUING THE HORIZON ; 

ROUND AND ROUND THEY SPED. 

I WAS DISTURBED AT THIS ; 

I ACCOSTED THE MAN. 

" IT IS FUTILE," I SAID, 

** YOU CAN NEVER " 

** YOU LIE," HE CRIED, 
AND RAN ON. 






*5 



XXV 

BEHOLD, THE GRAVE OF A WICKED MAN, 
AND NEAR IT, A STERN SPIRIT. 

THERE CAME A DROOPING MAID WITH VIOLETS, 

BUT THE SPIRIT GRASPED HER ARM. 

** NO FLOWERS FOR HIM," HE SAID. 

THE MAID WEPT : 

" AH, I LOVED HIM." 

BUT THE SPIRIT, GRIM AND FROWNING I 

'* NO FLOWERS FOR HIM." 

NOW, THIS IS IT 

IF THE SPIRIT WAS JUST, 
WHY DID THE MAID WEEP ? 



26 



XXVI 

THERE WAS SET BEFORE ME A MIGHTY HILL, 

AND LONG DAYS I CLIMBED 

THROUGH REGIONS OF SNOW. 

WHEN 1 HAD BEFORE ME THE SUMMIT-VIEW, 

IT SEEMED THAT \lY LABOUR 

HAD BEEN TO SEE GARDENS 

LYING AT IMPOSSIBLE DISTANCES. 



27 



XXVII 

A YOUTH IN APPAREL THAT GLITTERED 

WENT TO WALK IN A GRIM FOREST. 

THERE HE MET AN ASSASSIN 

ATTIRED ALL IN GARB OF OLD DAYS ; 

HE, SCOWLING THROUGH THE THICKETS, 

AND DAGGER POISED QUIVERING, 

RUSHED UPON THE YOUTH. 

" SIR," SAID THIS LATTER, 

" I AM ENCHANTED, BELIEVE ME, 

"TO DIE, THUS, 

" IN THIS MEDIEVAL FASHION, 

" ACCORDING TO THE BEST LEGENDS ; 

" AH, WHAT JOY ! " ^ 

THEN TOOK HE THE WOUND, SMILING^ 

AND DIED, CONTENT. 



t^ 



28 



XXVIII 

" TRUTH," SAID A TRAVELLER, 

" IS A ROCK, A MIGHTY FORTRESS ; 

"OFTEN HAVE I BEEN TO IT, 

" EVEN TO ITS HIGHEST TOWER, 

" FROM WHENCE THE WORLD LOOKS BLACK. 

** TRUTH," SAID A TRAVELLER, 
*' IS A BREATH, A WIND, 
" A SHADOW, A PHANTOM ; 
" LONG HAVE I PURSUED IT, 
** BUT NEVER HAVE I TOUCHED 
*' THE HEM OF ITS GARMENT." 

AND I BELIEVED THE SECOND TRAVELLER ; 

FOR TRUTH WAS TO ME 

A BREATH, A WIND, 

A SHADOW, A PHANTOM, 

AND NEVER HAD I TOUCHED 

THE HEM OF ITS GARMENT. 

29 



it 



XXIX 

BEHOLD, FROM THE LAND OF THE FARTHER 

SUNS 
I RETURNED. 

AND I WAS IN A REPTILE-SWARMING PLACE, 
PEOPLED, OTHERWISE, WITH GRIMACES, 
SHROUDED ABOVE IN BLACK IMPENETRABLENESS. 
I SHRANK, LOATHING, 
SICK WITH IT. 
AND I SAID TO HIM, 
" WHAT IS THIS ? " 
HE MADE ANSWER SLOWLY, 
" SPIRIT, THIS IS A WORLD ; 
" THIS WAS YOUR HOME." 



30 



J 



XXX 

SUPPOSING THAT I SHOULD HAVE THE COURAGE 

TO LET A RED SWORD OF VIRTUE 

PLUNGE INTO MY HEART, 

LETTING TO THE WEEDS OF THE GROUND 

MY SINFUL BLOOD, 

WHAT CAN YOU OFFER ME ? 

A GARDENED CASTLE ? 

A FLOWERY KINGDOM ? 

WHAT ? A HOPE ? 

THEN HENCE WITH YOUR RED SWORD OF VIRTUE. 



31 



XXXI 

MANY WORKMEN 

BUILT A HUGE BALL OF MASONRY 

UPON A MOUNTAIN-TOP. 

THEN THEY WENT TO THE VALLEY BELOW, 

AND TURNED TO BEHOLD THEIR WORK. 

** IT IS GRAND," THEY SAID ; 

THEY LOVED THE THING. 

OF A SUDDEN, IT MOVED I 

IT CAME UPON THEM SWIFTLY ; 

IT CRUSHED THEM ALL TO BLOOD. 

BUT SOME HAD OPPORTUNITY TO SQUEAL. 



3* 



.1 



XXXII 

TWO OR THREE ANGELS 

CAME NEAR TO THE EARTH. 

THEY SAW A FAT CHURCH. 

LITTLE BLACK STREAMS OF PEOPLE 

CAME AND WENT IN CONTINUALLY. 

AND THE ANGELS WERE PUZZLED 

TO KNOW WHY THE PEOPLE WENT THUS, 

AND WHY THEY STAYED SO LONG WITHIN. 



^^ 



33 



XXXIII 

THERE WAS ONE I MET UPON THE ROAD 

WHO LOOKED AT ME WITH KIND EYES, 

HE SAID, " SHOW ME OF YOUR WARES." 

AND THIS I DID, 

HOLDING FORTH ONE. 

HE SAID, *' IT IS A SIN." 

THEN HELD I FORTH ANOTHER ; 

HE SAID, *' IT IS A SIN." 

THEN HELD I FORTH ANOTHER ; 

HE SAID, " IT IS A SIN." 

AND SO TO THE END ; 

ALWAYS HE SAID, " IT IS A SIN." 

AND, FINALLY, I CRIED OUT, 

" BUT I HAVE NONE OTHER." 

THEN DID HE LOOK AT ME 

WITH KINDER EYES. 

** POOR SOUL ! " HE SAID. 



34 



1 



XXXIV 

I STOOp UPON A HIGHWAY, 

AND, BEHOLD, THERE CAME 

MANY STRANGE PEDLERS. 

TO ME EACH ONE MADE GESTURES, 

HOLDING FORTH LITTLE IMAGES, SAYING, 

" THIS IS MY PATTERN OF GOD. 

" NOW THIS IS THE GOD I PREFER." 

BUT I SAID, " HENCE ! 

*' LEAVE ME WITH MINE OWN, 

** AND TAKE YOU YOURS AWAY ; 

*' I can't buy of your PATTERNS OF GOD, 

" THE LITTLE GODS YOU MAY RIGHTLY PREFER." 



35 



XXXV 

A MAN SAW A BALL OF GOLD IN THE SKY ; 
HE CLIMBED FOR IT, 

AND EVENTUALLY HE ACHIEVED IT 

IT WAS CLAY. 

NOW THIS IS THE STRANGE PART : 

WHEN THE MAN WENT TO THE EARTH 

AND LOOKED AGAIN, 

LO, THERE WAS THE BALL OF GOLD. 

NOW THIS IS THE STRANGE PART : 

IT WAS A BALL OF GOLD. 

AYE, BY THE HEAVENS, IT WAS A BALL OF GOLD. 



1 



36 






I 



XXXVI 

I MET A SEER. 
HE HELD IN HIS HANDS 
THE BOOK OF WISDOM. 
** SIR," I ADDRESSED HIM, 
*' LET ME READ." 

"CHILD " HE BEGAN. 

** SIR," I SAID, 

*' THINK NOT THAT I AM A CHILD, 
** FOR ALREADY I KNOW MUCH 
** OF THAT WHICH YOU HOLD. 
*' AYE, MUCH." 

HE SMILED. 

THEN HE OPENED THE BOOK 

AND HELD IT BEFORE ME. 

STRANGE THAT I SHOULD HAVE GROWN SO 
SUDDENLY BLIND. 



37 



\' 



XXXVII 

ON THE HORIZON THE PEAKS ASSEMBLED ; 

AND AS I LOOKED, 

THE MARCH OF THE MOUNTAINS BEGAN. 

AS THEY MARCHED, THEY SANG, 

" AYE ! WE COME ! WE COME ! " 



1^ 



38 



I 



XXXVIII 

THE OCEAN SAID TO ME ONCE, 
" LOOK ! 

" YONDER ON THE SHORE 
*' IS A WOMAN, WEEPING. 
*' I HAVE WATCHED HER. 

" GO YOU AND TELL HER THIS, 

" HER LOVER I HAVE LAID 

" IN COOL GREEN HALL. 

** THERE IS WEALTH OF GOLDEN SAND 

** AND PILLARS, CORAL-RED ; 

** TWO WHITE FISH STAND GUARD AT HIS BIER. 

•* TELL HER THIS 

** AND MORE, 

** THAT THE KING OF THE SEAS 

" WEEPS TOO, OLD, HELPLESS MAN. 

** THE BUSTLING FATES 



39 



J -I J J 



** HEAP HIS HANDS WITH CORPSES 
*' UNTIL HE STANDS LIKE A CHILD 
" WITH SURPLUS OF TOYS." 



40 



' I. >- 



i 



XXXIX 

THE LIVID LIGHTNINGS FLASHED IN THE 

CLOUDS ; 
THE LEADEN THUNDERS CRASHED. 
A WORSHIPPER RAISED HIS ARM. 
** HEARKEN ! HEARKEN ! THE VOICE OF GOD ! " 

" NOT SO," SAID A MAN. 

" THE VOICE OF GOD WHISPERS IN THE HEART 

" SO SOFTLY 

" THAT THE SOUL PAUSES, 

*' MAKING NO NOISE, 

" AND STRIVES FOR THESE MELODIES, 

** DISTANT, SIGHING, LIKE FAINTEST BREATH, 

'* AND ALL THE BEING IS STILL TO HEAR." 



41 



k. 



XL 
AND YOU LOVE ME 

I LOVE YOU. 

YOU ARE, THEN, COLD COWARD. 

aye; BUT, BELOVED, 

WHEN I STRIVE TO COME TO YOU, 

man's OPINIONS, A THOUSAND THICKETS, 

MY INTERWOVEN EXISTENCE, 

MY LIFE, 

CAUGHT IN THE STUBBLE OF THE WORLD 

LIKE A TENDER VEIL, 

THIS STAYS ME. 

NO STRANGE MOVE CAN I MAKE 
WITHOUT NOISE OF TEARING. 
I DARE NOT. 

IF LOVE LOVES, 

THERE IS NO WORLD 

42 



i 
1 



NOR WORD. 

ALL IS LOST 

SAVE THOUGHT OF LOVE 

AND PLACE TO DREAM. 

YOU LOVE ME ? 

I LOVE YOU. 

YOU ARE, THEN, COLD COWARD. 

AYE; BUT, BELOVED 



43 



l> * 



I 



XLl 

LOVE WALKED ALONE. 

THE ROCKS CUT HER TENDER FEET, 

AND THE BRAMBLES TORE HER FAIR LIMBS. 

THERE CAME A COMPANION TO HER, 

BUT, ALAS, HE WAS NO HELP, 

FOR HIS NAME WAS HEART's PAIN. 



>4 



44 



I 



I 



k^ 



XLII 

I WALKED IN A DESERT. 

AND I CRIED, 

" AH, GOD, TAKE ME FROM THIS PLACE ! " 

A VOICE SAID, " IT IS NO DESERT." 

I CRIED, " WELL, BUT 

" THE SAND, THE HEAT, THE VACANT HORIZON." 
A VOICE SAID, ** IT IS NO DESERT." 



\ 



45 



XLIII 

THERE CAME WHISPERINGS IN THE WINDS I 

" GOOD-BYE ! GOOD-BYE ! " 

LITTLE VOICES CALLED IN THE DARKNESS I 

** GOOD-BYE ! GOOD-BYE ! " 

THEN I STRETCHED FORTH MY ARMS. 

"NO NO " 

THERE CAME WHISPERINGS IN THE WIND I 
" GOOD-BYE ! GOOD-BYE ! " 
LITTLE VOICES CALLED IN THE DARKNESS I 
" GOOD-BYE ! GOOD-BYE ! " 



-1 



46 



^ 



s 



XLIV 

I WAS IN THE DARKNESS ; 

I COULD NOT SEE MY WORDS 

NOR THE WISHES OF MY HEART. 

THEN SUDDENLY THERE WAS A GREAT LIGHT 



" LET ME INTO THE DARKNESS AGAIN. 



J9 



47 



XLV 

TRADITION, THOU ART FOR SUCKLING CHIL- 
DREN, 
THOU ART THE ENLIVENING MILK FOR BABES ; 
BUT NO MEAT FOR MEN IS IN THEE. 

THEN 

BUT, ALAS, WE ALL ARE BABES. 



J 
\ 



48 



1 



XLVI 

MANY RED DEVILS RAN FROM MY HEART 

AND OUT UPON THE PAGE, 

THEY WERE SO TINY 

THE PEN COULD MASH THEM. 

AND MANY STRUGGLED IN THE INK. 

IT WAS STRANGE 

TO WRITE IN THIS RED MUCK 

OF THINGS FROM MY HEART. 



49 



XLVII 

" THINK AS I THINK," SAID A MAN, 
** OR YOU ARE ABOMINABLY WICKED ; 
"YOU ARE A TOAD." 

AND AFTER I HAD THOUGHT OF IT, 
I SAID, " I WILL, THEN, BE A TOAD." 



50 



XLVIII 

ONCE THERE WAS A MAN, 

OH, SO WISE ! 

IN ALL DRINK 

HE DETECTED THE BITTER, 

AND IN ALL TOUCH 

HE FOUND THE STING. 

AT LAST HE CRIED THUS I 

" THERE IS NOTHING, 

'' NO LIFE, 
'' NO JOY, 

'* NO PAIN, 

'* THERE IS NOTHING SAVE OPINION, 
'* AND OPINION BE DAMNED." 



5» 



^^ 



XLIX 

I STOOD MUSING IN A BLACK WORLD, 

NOT KNOWING WHERE TO DIRECT MY FEET. 

AND I SAW THE QUICK STREAM OF MEN 

POURING CEASELESSLY, 

FILLED WITH EAGER FACES, 

A TORRENT OF DESIRE. 

I CALLED TO THEM, 

** WHERE DO YOU GO ? WHAT DO YOU SEE ? " 

A THOUSAND VOICES CALLED TO ME. 

A THOUSAND FINGERS POINTED. 

*' LOOK ! LOOK ! THERE ! " 

I KNOW NOT OF IT. 

BUT, LO ! IN THE FAR SKY SHONE A RADIANCE 

INEFFABLE, DIVINE, 

A VISION PAINTED UPON A PALL ; 
AND SOMETIMES IT WAS, 
AND SOMETIMES IT WAS NOT. 
I HESITATED. 

5» 



J 



THEN FROM THE STREAM 
CAME ROARING VOICES, 
IMPATIENT : 
" LOOK ! LOOK ! THERE ! " . 

SO AGAIN I SAW, 

AND LEAPED, UNHESITANT, 

AND STRUGGLED AND FUMED 

WITH OUTSPREAD CLUTCHING FINGERS. 

THE HARD HILLS TORE MY FLESH ; 

THE WAYS BIT MY FEET. 

AT LAST I LOOKED AGAIN. 

NO RADIANCE IN THE FAR SKY, 

INEFFABLE, DIVINE ; 

NO VISION PAINTED UPON A PALL; 

AND ALWAYS MY EYES ACHED FOR THE LIGHT. 

THEN I CRIED IN DESPAIR, 

" I SEE NOTHING ! OH, WHERE DO I GO ? " 

THE TORRENT TURNED AGAIN ITS FACES : 

" LOOK ! LOOK ! THERE ! " 

53 



AND AT THE BLINDNESS OF MY SPIRIT 

THEY SCREAMED^ 

** FOOL ! FOOL ! FOOL ! " 



54 



I 



,T 



YOU SAY YOU ARE HOLY, 

AND THAT 

BECAUSE 1 HAVE NOT SEEN YOU SIN. 

AYE, BUT THERE ARE THOSE 

WHO SEE YOU SIN, MY FRIEND. 



55 



LI 

A MAN WENT BEFORE A STRANGE GOD, — 

THE GOD OF MANY MEN, SADLY WISE. 

AND THE DEITY THUNDERED LOUDLY, 

FAT WITH RAGE, AND PUFFING, 

** KNEEL, MORTAL, AND CRINGE 

*' AND GROVEL AND DO HOMAGE 

" TO MY PARTICULARLY SUBLIME MAJESTY." 

THE MAN FLED. 

THEN THE MAN WENT TO ANOTHER GOD, 

THE GOD OF HIS INNER THOUGHTS. 
AND THIS ONE LOOKED AT HIM 
WITH SOFT EYES 

LIT WITH INFINITE COMPREHENSION, 
AND SAID, *' MY POOR CHILD ! " 



56 



J 



LII 

WHY DO YOU STRIVE FOR GREATNESS, FOOL? 
GO PLUCK A BOUGH AND WEAR IT. 
IT IS AS SUFFICING. 

MY LORD, THERE ARE CERTAIN BARBARIANS 

WHO TILT THEIR NOSES 

AS IF THE STARS WERE FLOWERS, 

AND THY SERVANT IS LOST AMONG THEIR SHOE- 
BUCKLES. 

FAIN WOULD I HAVE MINE EYES EVEN WITH 
THEIR EYES. 

FOOL, GO PLUCK A BOUGH AND WEAR IT. 



57 



LIU 



BLUSTERING GOD, 

STAMPING ACROSS THE SKY 

WITH LOUD SWAGGER, 

I FEAR YOU NOT. 

NO, THOUGH FROM YOUR HIGHEST HEAVEN 

YOU PLUNGE YOUR SPEAR AT MY HEART, 

I FEAR YOU NOT. 

NO, NOT IF THE BLOW 

IS AS THE LIGHTNING BLASTING A TREE, 

I FEAR YOU NOT, PUFFING BRAGGART. 

II 

IF THOU CAN SEE INTO MY HEART 
THAT 1 FEAR THEE NOT, 
THOU WILT SEE WHY I FEAR THEE NOT, 
AND WHY IT IS RIGHT. 

58 



J 
1 



so THREATEN NOT, THOU, WITH THY BLOODY 

SPEARS, 
ELSE THY SUBLIME EAR*S SHALL HEAR CURSES. 

HI 

WITHAL, THERE IS ONE WHOM I FEAR ; 

I FEAR TO SEE GRIEF UPON THAT FACE. 

PERCHANCE, FRIEND, HE IS NOT YOUR GOD J 

IF SO, SPIT UPON HIM. 

BY IT YOU WILL DO NO PROFANITY. 

BUT I 

AH, SOONER WOULD 1 DIE 

THAN SEE TEARS IN THOSE EYES OF MY SOUL. 



59 



LIV 

" IT WAS WRONG TO DO THIS," SAID THE ANGEL. 
** YOU SHOULD LIVE LIKE A FLOWER, 
" HOLDING MALICE LIKE A PUPPY, 
"WAGING WAR LIKE A LAMBKIN." 

" NOT SO," QUOTH THE MAN 
WHO HAD NO FEAR OF SPIRITS ; 
** IT IS ONLY WRONG FOR ANGELS 
"WHO CAN LIVE LIKE THE FLOWERS, 
" HOLDING MALICE LIKE THE PUPPIES, 
*' WAGING WAR LIKE THE LAMBKINS." 



60 



LV 

A MAN TOILED ON A BURNING ROAD, 

NEVER RESTING. 

ONCE HE SAW A FAT, STUPID ASS 

GRINNING AT HIM FROM A GREEN PLACE. 

THE MAN CRIED OUT IN RAGE, 

" AH ! DO NOT DERIDE ME, FOOL ! 

'* I KNOW YOU 

** ALL DAY STUFFING YOUR BELLY, 
"BURYING YOUR HEART 
** IN GRASS AND TENDER SPROUTS : 
" IT WILL NOT SUFFICE YOU." 
BUT THE ASS ONLY GRINNED AT HIM FROM 
THE GREEN PLACE. 



6l 



LVI 

A MAN FEARED THAT HE MIGHT FIND AN 

ASSASSIN ; 
ANOTHER THAT HE MIGHT FIND A VICTIM. 
ONE WAS MORE WISE THAN THE OTHER. 



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I 



Lvn 

with eye and with gesture 
you say you are holy, 
i say you lie ; 
for i did see you 
draw away your coats 
from the sin upon the hands 
of a little child, 
liar! 



63 



LVIII 

THE SAGE LECTURED BRILLIANTLY. 
BEFORE HIM, TWO IMAGES : 
"NOW THIS ONE IS A DEVIL, 
" AND THIS ONE IS ME." 
HE TURNED AWAY. 
THEN A CUNNING PUPIL 
CHANGED THE POSITIONS. 
TURNED THE SAGE AGAIN : 
*' NOW THIS ONE IS A DEVIL, 
*''AND THIS ONE IS ME." 
THE PUPILS SAT, ALL GRINNING, 
AND REJOICED IN THE GAME. 
BUT THE SAGE WAS A SAGE. 



64 



LIX 

AVALKING IN THE SKY, 

A MAN IN STRANGE BLACK GARB 

ENCOUNTERED A RADIANT FORM. 

XHEN HIS STEPS WERE EAGER ; 

BOWED HE DEVOUTLY. 

" MY LORD," SAID HE. 

BUT THE SPIRIT KNEW HIM NOT. 



65 



LX 

UPON THE ROAD OF MY LIFE, 

PASSED ME MANY FAIR CREATURES, 

CLOTHED ALL IN WHITE, AND RADIANT. 

TO ONE, FINALLY, I MADE SPEECH I 

" WHO ART THOU ? " 

BUT SHE, LIKE THE OTHERS, 

KEPT COWLED HER FACE, 

AND ANSWERED IN HASTE, ANXIOUSLY, 

"I AM GOOD DEED, FORSOOTH; 

" YOU HAVE OFTEN SEEN ME." 

" NOT UNCOWLED," I MADE REPLY. 

AND WITH RASH AND STRONG HAND, 

THOUGH SHE RESISTED, 

I DREW AWAY THE VEIL 

AND GAZED AT THE FEATURES OF VANITY. 

SHE, SHAMEFACED, WENT ON ; 

AND AFTER I HAD MUSED A TIME, 

I SAID OF MYSELF, 

" FOOL ! " 

66 






\ 



LXI 



I 

THERE WAS A MAN AND A WOMAN 

WHO SINNED. 

THEN DID THE MAN HEAP THE PUNISHMENT 

ALL UPON THE HEAD OF HER, 

AND WENT AWAY GAILY. 

II 

THERE WAS A MAN AND A WOMAN 
WHO SINNED. 

AND THE MAN STOOD WITH HER. 
p AS UPON HER HEAD, SO UPON HIS, 
FELl- BLOW AND BLOW, 

AND ALL PEOPLE SCREAMING, " FOOL ! " 
HE WAS A BRAVE HEART. 



67 









Ill 

HE WAS A BRAVE HEART. 

WOULD YOU SPEAK WITH HIM, FRIEND? 

WELL, HE IS DEAD, 

AND THERE WENT YOUR OPPORTUNITY. 

LET IT BE YOUR GRIEF 

THAT HE IS DEAD 

AND YOUR OPPORTUNITY GONE ; 

FOR, IN THAT, YOU WERE A COWARD. 



68 



LXII 

THERE WAS A MAN WHO LIVED A LIFE OF FIRE. 

EVEN UPON THE FABRIC OF TIME, 

WHERE PURPLE BECOMES ORANGE 

AND ORANGE PURPLE, 

THIS LIFE GLOWED, 

A DIRE RED STAIN, INDELIBLE ; 

YET WHEN HE WAS DEAD, 

HE SAW THAT HE HAD NOT LIVED. 



69 



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LXIII 

THERE WAS A GREAT CATHEDRAL. 

TO SOLEMN SONGS, 

A WHITE PROCESSION 

MOVED TOWARD THE ALTAR. 

THE CHIEF MAN THERE 

WAS ERECT, AND BORE HIMSELF PROUDLY. 

YET SOME COULD SEE HIM CRINGE, 

AS IN A PLACE OF DANGER, 

THROWING FRIGHTENED GLANCES INTO THE AIR, 

A-START AT THREATENING FACES OF THE PAST. 



J 



1 



70 



i. 



LXIV 

FRIEND, YOUR WHITE BEARD SWEEPS THE 

GROUND. 
WHY DO YOU STAND, EXPECTANT ? 
DO YOU HOPE TO SEE IT 
IN ONE OF YOUR WITHERED DAYS ? 
WITH YOUR OLD EYES 
DO YOU HOPE TO SEE 
THE TRIUMPHAL MARCH OF JUSTICE ? 
DO NOT WAIT, FRIEND ! 
TAKE YOUR WHITE BEARD 
AND YOUR OLD EYES 
TO MORE TENDER LANDS. 



71 



>." ■; . 



LXV 

ONCE, I KNEW A FINE SONG, 

IT IS TRUE, BELIEVE ME, 

IT WAS ALL OF BIRDS, 

AND I HELD THEM IN A BASKET ; 

WHEN I OPENED THE WICKET, 

HEAVENS ! THEY ALL FLEW AWAY. 

I CRIED, " COME BACK, LITTLE THOUGHTS ! " 

BUT THEY ONLY LAUGHED. 

THEY FLEW ON 

UNTIL THEY WERE AS SAND 

THROWN BETWEEN ME AND THE SKY. 



i 

\ 



72 



- ^ 

1 



LXVI 

IF I SHOULD CAST OFF THIS TATTERED COAT, 
AND GO FREE INTO THE MIGHTY SKY ; 
IF I SHOULD FIND NOTHING THERE 
BUT A VAST BLUE, 

ECHOLES8, IGNORANT, 

WHAT THEN ? 



» 



73 



r 



J • « • • 






J 



LXVII 

GOD LAY DEAD IN HEAVEN ; 

ANGELS SANG THE HYMN OF THE END; 

PURPLE WINDS WENT MOANING, 

THEIR WINGS DRIP-DRIPPING 

WITH BLOOD 

THAT FELL UPON THE EARTH. 

IT, GROANING THING, 

TURNED BLACK AND SANK. 

THEN FROM THE FAR CAVERNS 

OF DEAD SINS 

CAME MONSTERS, LIVID WITH DESIRE. 

THEY FOUGHT, 

WRANGLED OVER THE WORLD, 

A MORSEL. 

BUT OF ALL SADNESS THIS WAS SAD, 

A woman's arms tried TO SHIELD 

THE HEAD OF A SLEEPING MAN 

FROM THE JAWS OF THE FINAL BEAST. 

74 



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LXVIII 

A SPIRIT SPED 

THROUGH SPACES OF NIGHT; 

AND AS HE SPED, HE CALLED^ 

"god! god!" 

he went through valleys 

of black death-slime, 

ever calling, 

"god! god!" 

their echoes 

from crevice and cavern 

mocked him : 

"god! god! god!" 

fleetly into the plains of space 

he went, ever calling, 

"god! god!" 

eventually, then, he screamed, 

mad in denial, 

"ah, there is no god ! " 

75 



• •• * 

J •* J • * ■« ;;* 



, J ■» •» 






^^ 



A SWIFT HAND, 

A SWORD FROM THE SKY, 

SMOTE HIM, 

AND HE WAS DEAD. 



^ 



1(^ 






K 



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